Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Beneath The Surface of Masters: Karen Ferguson (Tranent ASC)

We are looking deeper into the lives and personalities at the heart of the Scottish Masters community through our ‘Beneath The Surface’ feature. 

Here's our third of several interviews with Masters swimmers, as well as some fantastic underwater photos courtesy of GBswimstars.

Karen Ferguson is 33, and a Swimming Development Officer in East Lothian.  She swims (and coaches) with Tranent Amateur Swimming Club.

How did you become a Masters swimmer?

I joined Masters about five years ago.  I had been swimming since I was ten and kept it up through university, but then I needed to find a job and then I had kids and, well, life got in the way of swimming.  I joined because I wanted to get fit and swimming has become an important part my life again. 

What sort of training do you do?

I train three times a week: twice with the Masters group and once on my own.  I also coach Masters once a week.  Training with Masters is usually two hours at a time and there are lots of different people of all ages. One of the things I love about Masters Swimming is that you usually come away from a session and your cheeks are sore from laughing. We’ll do a 15 minute warm up. We don’t have a coach at the moment so some of us take it in turns at writing a session and then we’ll do a cool down. So you’re talking about doing about 2000 metres in a session, which is quite a distance!

What do you do when you’re not in the pool?

Teach others to be in the pool!  I’m a Development Officer in East Lothian, so I assist with the school swimming programme, I oversee the 'Learn to Swim' programme and I also do club development.

That’s a lot of swimming – how do you switch between swimming as a job and swimming as a hobby?

It is a lot of swimming to think about, but I’m passionate about swimming. It has always been a part of my life and it just feels natural to swim whenever I can.  In the odd moment when I’m not swimming, I like to read or take my dogs for a walk. 

What competitions have you taken part in?

I competed in the East District Masters at Prestonpans last year and I’m doing the Great Scottish Swim this year at Loch Lomond – my first open water swim.  My next aim is to take part in the Scottish Championships and then we’ll see what happens after that.  When I was younger I competed for the East District team and competed at Scottish National level where I medalled in backstroke. 

What do you love about swimming?

I love being in the water because it always makes me feel relaxed and it is my time for me.  I love meeting people as well – Masters is great for that.  I’ve met so many people and they’re all really friendly and it’s just a great thing to be part of. 

What do you hate about swimming?

I don’t think there’s anything I hate about swimming.

What would you say to recreational swimmers that are thinking about masters?

Despite what you probably think, it isn’t scary at all and you don’t have to be a fantastic swimmer to take part.  Masters is just a group of friendly, like-minded people having fun. 

Any top tips for becoming a better swimmer?

Have fun and just enjoy it. Listen to your coach. Make sure you get your breathing right.


Karen was interviewed by Chris Kane.  Read more Swim Social Blogs/Interviews here